China Thanks Tesla, the Asians Will Take It From Here

Elon Musk and a Tesla Model S Plaid 12 photos
Photo: Tesla on YouTube
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Tesla did what nobody thought was possible. It not only defeated the legacy carmakers, but the well-known EV manufacturer made highly successful auto companies want to replace it. The fight is ongoing. But what almost nobody is expecting is China’s going to have a say in this – an important one. And the Asian country might give us a new king.
Just look at the market conditions now. There’s geopolitical unrest almost everywhere, many global economic powers have a lot of internal problems to deal with, our societies are just recovering from the health crisis while another one’s looming because chronically ill people were left untreated for a long time, and we’re facing a disparity between incredibly rich people and those that work two or three jobs and are barely making ends meet. It’s not a pretty picture.

The inflationary situation is common in most developed economies. It’s not happening only in the U.S.; Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Turkey, and India are all seeing signs of increased costs of living. Powering our lifestyle, houses, and offices is one of the factors that contribute to this reality. Nobody’s relaxed anymore. Almost everyone’s planning for the worst, thanks to what we see happening around us, and announced almost every day by the news stations across the globe. The stock market has already entered a downfall as well.

And that got me thinking – where’s the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range that we were promised? That car was supposed to be revolutionary. It had incorporated in it the idea that all-electric personal transport will become something everybody wanted and desired for a long-long time. It was supposed to be the $35,000 electric vehicle that made switching from gas guzzlers a no-brainer. Look at it now! The car costs $46,990! It’s a 267-mile range, a rear-wheel-drive machine that’s considerably more expensive than what we were promised.

My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined

“I think it’s a good idea to have affordable cars. (…) It’s a great idea. (…) I think where it’s going to become challenging in the future is as the price of the gasoline rises, the cost of acquiring the car is much less of an issue than the cost of operating the car,“ said Elon Musk in an interview where he was asked about Ratan Tata and his vision to develop the Nano – a $2,300 sedan that was very smartly fitted with a compressed natural gas (CNG) tank which made using it a lot cheaper than a gas-powered equivalent.

Top 10 questions Elon Musk will face in the Q4 2021 earnings call
Photo: Public domain / Wikimedia Commons
Now Elon Musk is buying social media companies, and he is a firm believer in freedom of speech, space travel, and technologies for the advancement of the human brain. He even sold some Tesla shares to buy the web platform and just recently advised his followers to sell the stock of the companies that they think are “trending worse.”

But, dude, where’s my $35,000 electric car? That was something that would’ve greatly benefitted our crowded urban societies. Where’s the new and improved chemistry for batteries or better deals for cheaper parts? Where are the shops and the sustainable right to repair? Why can’t this brilliant-minded man use his abilities to make Tesla the best of them all and cover every type of customer? Not everyone’s rich, but almost everyone needs a car. Let it be a Model 3 that’s not going to put you in debt. No? Ok, then.

But, at the end of the day, Elon Musk won’t care. He never did. After all, name one big company or a CEO that did care for their customers. It’s a for-profit world. Nothing will change this fact. Chasing expensive models with high-profit margins is making business much better for the newest Apple-like auto company. People are paying the extra money because they have a lot of it, so why not let them do it? But that’s where everyone’s wrong.

It might happen faster than experts anticipated

Paying over $100,000 for an EV won't be a thing that's going to last. It will stop sooner rather than later. And when it stops happening, China will sweep everyone off their feet or, better said in this case, wheels. Maybe that's why Elon Musk is actively choosing to focus on anything else other than making Tesla even better and more accessible.

You might be inclined to disagree with me, but China has the raw materials, the battery manufacturers, a lot of up-and-coming carmakers and already established auto brands, a government that doesn’t endorse losing overseas or at home, and is willing to cross any barriers necessary for it, a very close position to the world’s leading chip producer Taiwan, and a plethora of capital. It’s going to eat everyone for breakfast.

BYD Song Plus
Photo: BYD
The country’s already testing the markets with different offers. Lynk & Co. offers very attractive subscriptions for its cars, while Volvo is evolving with help from Geely. American and European automakers are scrambling to satisfy the Chinese market, even if it comes at the expense of Western customers.

Everything is pointing at Asia. They might very well become the next global leaders in the auto industry, if not in everything that matters to us all. And it's not only China. Vietnam is pushing in this direction as well with VinFast.

Unfortunately, Tesla and the companies that followed in its footsteps like Rivian, Lucid, and Canoo are not about affordability. They're relying on desirability – and that's going to be a catalyst for foreign expansion in our auto industry. Don't think it hasn't started. It's happened already. Give it a few years, and it will reach even the most remote parts of our little, connected world.
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Editor's note: The author doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article or their competitors.

About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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